September 27, 2023 update:to find new place to live, some desert campers
WEBSTER - Folks who live at the Webster Family Campground on Douglas Road are afraid the place they call home will no longer be available. "If we have to leave here, we'll be living in my car," Talia Sweck said.
The campground is made up of RVs and motor homes. Michael Finamore has owned the campground for more than 50 years. "It's very hard for me," Finamore said.
He's been ordered by the town to evict all 30 of his customers because of a number of violations and his site has been deemed uninhabitable.
"I'm going to have to go around and tell each and every person here that they have 48 hours to leave here. I told the judge I have no stomach to evict anyone from this campground," Finamore said.
Town Administrator Richard LaFond says the campsite has several violations and has been taken to housing court for enforcement. "I think going back for almost a decade there have been documented violations of both zoning bylaws as well as state nuisance and public health violations. It came to the point where they were so severe the town could not ignore them," LaFond said.
Twenty-five-year-old Talia Sweck moved in five months after losing her job. "It's going to be hard. We are going to probably end up in our cars, there is really nowhere else for us to go. It's hard here in Massachusetts," Sweck said.
Sixty-nine-year-old James Joubert says this place is home to him. "I have water, heat, and electricity. I just want to be left alone. I pay my rent," Joubert said.
The town says they empathize with the residents but for safety concerns they have to relocate. "There is a level of empathy but when you realize, that when a judge says it's uninhabitable, it's not a place where people should be living," LaFond said.
Finamore is pleading for any legal guidance he can find to help him navigate through all of this and help keep the families on the property, but he's afraid he's running out of time and will be forced to ask everyone to leave. "These people are American citizens. They're on Social Security," Finamore said. "It's everything, it's the legacy of my children and grandchildren."
The town says Finamore now has to relocate the residents within 48 hours. The town will do a follow up inspection in 15 days.
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